One week ago, we traveled to Kentucky to witness my little, big-eared brother Raymond wed his beautiful longtime girlfriend Mary. The wedding Mass was beautiful and produced many, many tears from yours truly - and I am normally not a crier! I did not bring my camera for the event since both Paul and I were in the wedding party and I knew that I would not want to be lugging it around the whole day. However, when I get my hands on some pictures I will share them!
We broke the trip to Louisville up over two nights since we did not know how Lucy would travel. Her siblings are awesome car travelers - they did not complain once when we drove to Montana for 24 hours straight - but we did not want to assume that Lucy would be just as fabulous (for the record, she was a complete rockstar!). So, we stopped at my sister's house which was conveniently located halfway between our home and the wedding location and visited with her and her new-ish husband before carpooling to the wedding together. For our visit, Catherine wanted to introduce us to some Puerto Rican cuisine since she has now married into a Puerto Rican family and has been trying her best to please her hubby by cooking some meals from his culture. One of the dishes she made for us can accurately be described as a fried plantain "lasagna" - with layers of fried plantains, chorizo sausage, olives, and cheese. It was unusually delicious.
The other dish she made was meant to be more of a side dish, but I loved it so much that I had to make a version of it soon after we arrived home. It was a bean dish with chorizo, pink beans, potato, and sofrito. It was meant to be served over rice and made a fantastic accompaniment to the meal. However, it was definitely substantial enough to stand as a meal all its own. When we got back to Erie, I found some leftover Chorizo sausage in our freezer and bought some pink beans, sofrito, bell pepper, and olives to make a version of that delicious dish.
I used mexican chorizo - which is uncooked and has a "loose" texture similar to ground beef - but any type of chorizo will work. I browned that along with the bell pepper and an entire small jar of sofrito - which is way more than we were told to use but Paul and I liked the flavor of it so much that we just decided to dump the entire thing in there. I also threw in a half teaspoon each of garlic powder, oregano, coriander and cumin. After everything was cooked, I stirred in two cans of undrained pink beans and brought everything to a simmer. The entire house smelled delicious as the beans cooked for another 20 minutes before serving.
We made some rice to serve the beans the traditional way but we also had the brilliant idea to make nachos with a portion of the mixture. We simply layered some chips, beans, and shredded cheese onto a baking sheet and broiled until the cheese was melted. The result? The best nachos ever. The kids loved them!
Thanks Catherine for the inspiration! I know our method was probably far from auténtico, but the results were still so fantastic that it shan't be long until we make this again! Sometimes, simple and homey meals are the best.
Puerto Rican-Style Pink Beans and Rice
1/2 pound chorizo sausage
1/2 large green bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 small jar sofrito
2 cans pink beans, undrained
2 cups hot cooked white rice
Brown the sausage along with the bell pepper, spices, and sofrito over medium heat until cooked through - about 10 minutes. Add the undrained beans, give everything a good stir, reduce the heat and allow everything to simmer for about 20 minutes. Be sure to stir and scrape the pot often to avoid scorching. Serve over the hot rice OR spoon evenly over chips, top with shredded cheese, and broil until the cheese melts.